Augustine lived at a critical moment in western European history. On the last day of the year 406, many Vandals, Alani, Suevi crossed the Rhine and, having defeated the Franks, settled for a time in Gaul and finally reached the Pyrenees. Four years later Rome itself fell to Alaric and his Visigoths. In addition to these outward catastrophes, the church's inner life suffered from the assaults of heretic and schismatic. Arianism persisted in Gaul, Montanism and Manichaeism were rife in North Africa. Puritanic Donatism laid claim to being genuine Christianity, a claim which the doughty Bishop of Hippo could not countenance.